Making A Reasonable Digital Music Collection

Do you enjoy listening to music but also like some amount of convenience? Do you want to listen to that music in a reasonable quality but don't want to tape rocks to a CD player? Then I have the blog post for you!

I am in no way an electrical engineer or hi-fi expert. I just like to listen to music! Though my collection is probably small compared to some, I currently have 275 GB worth of music stored on my computer. For physical media I own a bunch of CDs and a few vinyl records, but usually listen to music at my computer or from my DAP when out and about.

If you do not currently have much (or any) music in your collection that is no problem! I have been adding to my stash of music for well over a decade and there are tons of ways to start a collection in 2020. I will say that although digital music piracy is still a thing it probably isn't the way to go these days. Unless you immediately need low quality versions of a band's entire discography. Streaming services might be a better choice than searching for torrents, but if you want to actually own stuff whether it be physical or digital here are some other ideas.

Getting Music To Listen To

Ripping CDs

Probably the cheapest way to get high quality digital music is to buy and rip used CDs to your computer. If you don't have a CD drive as part of your computer you can buy an external one and it should be plug and play as far as setup goes. When ripping the CD (there are many options for software that does this if you do a quick search) make sure to create files with the FLAC format. This will cause the resulting files to be larger, but still in a reasonably convenient lossless audio format. FLAC is a "lossless" alternative to formats like the MP3 which are compressed. Another thing that is helpful is MusicBrainz. This is an open source collection of metadata for music files. They have created a program called Picard that can scan your music library and help you add or correct any missing metadata for your files.


I wish every album was available on Bandcamp. Bandcamp is a company that sells music over the internet. Artists can upload their music to the service for free, set the price, and have it available to download in a variety of formats. Bandcamp sells merchandise and physical media along with having a host of other services for artists.

Here is some music I got from Bandcamp that is awesome:

Other sources for digital music include Presto Music and Acoustic Sounds .

Streaming Services

If you like music, streaming services should not be your primary way of listening. Their existence seems kind of suspect and unsustainable to me.

Audiophile Stuff

Want to go a step further? Do you feel the sound coming out of your headphones isn't chocolatey enough? Well you can PayPal $100,000 plus what's left of your sanity to to get some placebos! Or as an alternative you can spend a few hundred bucks on good headphones (I use the Sennheiser HD 6XX) and maybe an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter) plus amplifier! Although an external DAC isn't 100% necessary it can help.

My advice would be to check out">Schiit Audio or Geshelli Labs as a first (and possible final) step. The jury is out as to whether a $99 DAC will truly be outperformed by one costing thousands of dollars so you should be good with the basics. Though a $5000 DAC will probably have some extra features (that you won't need). In addition, certain types of headphones may need an amplifier to get to an appropriate volume. Remember to do your research and not to go nuts.

Physical Media

If you like to have physical copies of your music check out Discogs. It is a "comprehensive music database and marketplace" that makes it possible to find the specific physical media you desire. Also you can search the rest of the internet to find out if there are any stores selling used CDs in your area.

Playing the Music

So you've got some music, the metadata is correct and, wait, you want to actually listen to the music? Well if that's what you want…

While I use Rhythmbox, the program MusicBee is one that I enjoyed back when I used Windows. JRiver is one that works across Linux, Windows, and Mac OS and is worth checking out for your media playback needs (though is is not free).

At this point you should be able to listen to your music with a strong sense of self satisfaction. Enjoy!

This is my day 46 post for #100daystooffload

This work by Thomas Lloyd is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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